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Job Seeking After 50? 7 Rules To Remember

At 80, the new Florida Marlins baseball team manager, Jack McKeon (pictured to the right with George Bush), is the second-oldest manager in the history of major league baseball. Recently he told CBS News: "Why should experience be penalized. I did think that no one would rehire me because of the age factor, but no, I'm not too old." And the way he has turned around the Marlins season (ending their 11-game losing streak and having them win 9 out of the 11 since) is proving his experience to be very valuable.

But baseball isn't the only industry that has a tendency to bench great workers as they get older. According to AARP, recent figures show that when people over 55 are unemployed they stay jobless for 10 more weeks on average their their younger counterparts.

So how can you use your experience to your advantage? I spoke to two career experts in the field -- Gail Geary, J.D., C.M.C. and author of Your Net Career, Do What You Always Wanted To Do and The Over-40 Job Search Guide, and Carol Silvis, M.E.D. and author of Job Hunting After 50, and asked for their best rules for working a job search after 50. Here's what they said:

Next: Upgrade your resume
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1. Revamp Your Resume
Brush the dust off your resume with these tips from Silvis: "A modern resume has a qualifications summary or profile of achievements instead of a job objective, an email address, and concrete results instead of a skill. So rather than list 'accounts payable,' say 'maintained 500 customer accounts' and rather than list 'supervised,' say 'directed workflow for 20 people.'"

Next: Take the attention off age
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2. Take Your Timeline Off The Table A great way to turn the attention away from your age is to delete your education dates from your resume. "Emphasize your accomplishments and credentials in your resume instead of your age," says Geary. "Your resume should show 10 to 15 years of relevant experience." That way the focus is on what you've done, not how long you've been doing it.

Next: Find new places to network
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3. Network In New Ways Old-school, off-line networking is still essential, but incorporating social networking into the mix is crucial. "Even though the over 50 set may have a lifetime network in place, they will want to do some social networking via LinkedIn, Plaxo, and Facebook, since employers are increasingly using these sites," says Silvis. And when networking, freshen up your pool. "[Job seekers] should step out of their comfort zones and meet new people, join organizations, volunteer, attend job fairs and trade shows, and send emails to reconnect with people in their network," adds Silvis.

Next: Discuss the age issue gracefully
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4. Prepare Answers to the Age Question Legally, someone can't not hire you because of your age -- that would be discriminatory. But that doesn't mean you won't have to address the issues associated with it. Your best defense is being prepared with a quick and simple answer. "For example, [if someone asks] 'Don't you think you are over-qualified for this job?"', a good answer would be 'I'm excited about sharing my strengths and experience with your organization.'" says Geary.

Next: Update your interview look
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5. Give Your Look A Makeover This doesn't mean trying a radical new hairstyle or scouring Glamour for the latest trends. You want to look like you -- only more current. "An updated image can make you look efficient, confident, and energetic. You want to give a younger interviewer the impression you are qualified, not his or her mother or father," says Silvis. Not sure where to start? Speak to a younger person who you trust, perhaps a family member or a professional peer, and get their opinion.

Next: Demonstrate that you're tech-savvy
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6. Highlight Your Tech Skills One of the main concerns will be that you may not have gone to college using the internet (not to mention social media) so you might not be as tech-savvy as a younger candidate. But if that's not true, show it clearly on your CV and discuss it in your interview, says Geary. This might mean incorporating digital media into your resume, mentioning how you'd use social networking in a position, or sharing that one of your hobbies is, say, web design.

Next: Find common ground with a younger interviewer
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7. Build Rapport with Your Interviewer Being interviewed by someone who was in diapers when you were in college may be humbling, but it's not worth letting that cost you a great job. The trick is to feel comfortable speaking their language by being up-to-date on technology and current on your industry news. Still uncomfortable? Find a younger person who you respect professionally to spend time with. "Think of younger people as mentors who can teach you the latest technology or creative ways of doing things. One thing you can also do before the interview is ask a younger person to practice interviewing with you and then critique how you did," says Silvis. (OK, so the photo to the right is a slight exaggeration of what you might encounter, but you get the point.)

Do you feel like you've ever been discriminated against because of age when applying for a job? Please share your experience in the comments section below.

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